We have a sort of road map for relationships in our culture. There are stages in a relationship which are delineated by certain events which make clear to the world that the people involved have taken a step. In monogamous culture, these steps convey a level of seriousness in the relationship; levels of commitment and usually exclusivity. If they are just seeing each other, then it may not be out-of-bounds to ask tone of them out yourself. If she’s got a ring, then back off boys (and girls) because she’s spoken for!
Of course, depending on how old fashioned (read, prudish) people are, this might amount to “going steady” or “casual dating” or “fuck buddy,” but the labels and correlated events convey something about the nature of that relationship which indicates levels of seriousness. It is not my intention here to analyze these stages, as they really have nothing to do with my freaky life, being all non-monogamous and stuff. Those normals can have their boring stages, because I don’t want them anyway.
Now, within the poly world, the same rules don’t apply but there certainly are some common themes which could be talked about. Strictly speaking, there are not any real universally accepted “rules”, but there are certainly some sets of common tendencies and some common markers which tell you the relative seriousness of a relationship. Perhaps the starkest distinction between the monotonous…I meant monogamous, my apologies…and the polyamorous worlds is that there is a significant decline in likelihood of a level of seriousness between people implying that this person has become off-limits. Temporarily perhaps, especially if they are so into their new partner that they just have no inclination to see you right now, but not in principle and not generally. And since the general lack of exclusivity implies that one might have to manage one’s time better, this can mean logistical puzzles to solve, and this is where technology comes to the rescue.
One of the markers that has become common in the last few years for poly people is the sharing of Google calendars. When you get to the point where you want to manage your time better so that you can make sure that you have time to see your new loved one, as well as make sure to fit yourself into their busy schedule (after all, since they are so awesome everyone else wants some time with them too!), then you are declaring that this is more than just some temporary fling, probably.
So, the other day when I was opening my Google calendar settings so that I could add my new lady friend, Gina (she has subsequently given me permission to use her name, which I interpret as permission to gush about her publicly in great detail 😉 ), I also discovered that I had been continually giving permission to 3 ex-girlfriends from the last few years. Apparently, my usually organized mind does not think to un-invite people who were once important parts of my daily life from this relationship stage, probably having something to do with finding this sharing option only when you are looking for it, thus I simply forgot that I was still sharing with them. Suffice it to say, the oversight was taken care of.
My guess is that they has simply deleted my calendar information a while back, and not that they had been stalking me. I assume that because for the most part I have not heard from any of these 3 women in some time. Hell, even in polyamory breakups can often still lead to people losing contact and moving on. Sometimes even when one of them lives in your parent’s house and sleeps in your old bedroom (long story).
But in any case, I now have a newly organized calendar with two of my significant others’ information adding color to both my calendar and my days. I have me a Ginny and a Gina! (I swear that was not intentional, it just sort of happened that way). Of course, now my calendar tells me that I won’t be able to see Gina until Friday.